A Park and Ride system or carpooling incentives are needed for staff at Cork University Hospital (CUH) to alleviate traffic in the area, a city councillor has said.
Figures revealed at a Regional Health Forum meeting show that there are just 998 parking spaces available for staff on CUH campus, which boasts more than 4,000 staff.
Figures from a recent CUH staff survey show that around 83% of staff drive to work while 17% walk, cycle or use public transport.
Hospital figures also show the staff car park is full during the daytime Monday to Friday and reduces to around 30% occupancy overnight.
Cllr Henry Cremin (SF) said the HSE need to plan for the future and introduce a Park & Ride scheme or carpooling incentives for staff.
He said there are queues of staff cars lining up for spaces each morning and that the disruption is spreading to the Wilton and Bishopstown areas.
Cllr Cremin added that with works ongoing at Wilton Shopping Centre, action is needed to ensure the area’s traffic pressure is alleviated rather than added to in the coming years.
“Wilton and Bishopstown is over-saturated with traffic and I’d like to see strategies going forward, in relation to carpooling or a Park & Ride system, something like that.
“Something has to happen.
“With the development in Wilton, we need an initiative for staff to try to get to work in a better way,” he added.
“Almost 1,000 staff car spaces are full every week and I’d imagine that’s a lot of single occupancy vehicles.
“Of course, there are people driving long distances from around the country but we need to have strategies to get people to work without it causing so much disruption.” Cllr Cremin also highlighted issues with the public car parks, which boast 541 paying spaces as well as 46 special needs spaces which are free.
There are also 106 public car spaces in the grounds of the consultants private clinic but these are not in the remit of CUH.
“There are also queues outside the public car park every Tuesday and Thursday that I go down there,” said Cllr Cremin.
“Without exaggeration, there could be 20 cars waiting to get in and they have to wait for a car to come out before they can do that.
“That has to be rectified.” CUH recently applied for planning permission for a new helipad on hospital grounds.
The proposed development would include a new two-storey staff car park, to replace the 164 spaces lost as a result of the helipad construction.
A new pedestrian bridge will also be erected over the hospital campus ring road.
The HSE has been asked by Cork City council to provide more information on the project before a decision is granted.